I’ve been resistant to post a skin update for quite some time. For a while, I was sharing photos of the dramatic improvements every few months. Thankfully, I was left with mostly scarring and very little cystic acne remaining, but it’s particularly challenging to capture photos of the nuanced differences between acne scarring from month to month.
So, just in case there was any question that food has the power to both heal and hurt, I wanted to share something that’s been on my mind all day.
Similar to when I went to Las Vegas in June, I relaxed my organic, grass-fed meat requirements for our bike trip to Detroit. It was already difficult enough to carry all of our pegan snacks for our trip, and I certainly didn’t expect little towns like Elmore, Ohio to offer grass-fed meat options on their diner menus. Everything else about my diet remained the same (no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no gluten).
I chose to post this photo on Facebook this morning and after I took a closer look, I was slightly shocked. Take a look at my chin. This photo was taken early last week (Monday, August 1) at the very beginning of our bike trip.
Today was my second follow up appointment with my functional medicine doctor, and third appointment with the nutritionist. Both seem really really impressed by how well my skin has responded to our dietary changes and other interventions. The general consensus is that mostly scarring is left, and unless I want to pay for dermatological treatments to speed up the process, the body will slowly repair the skin on its own.
I will write a more complete post when I receive the results of my blood work, as the doctor sent me to retest my candida, mycoplasma, and vitamin d levels. She suspects that my mycoplasma levels may have rebounded since my round of antibiotics because I’ve been unable to take a deep breath for the past two(ish) weeks. We have a plan in place to address this concern, but we’re waiting on the test results. When I receive my results, I’ll give you the full run down!
I’m no stranger to protein powder. My all time favorite in both powder and pre-made form is hands down Orgain. I drank their vegan chocolate pre-made protein shake pretty much every single morning from the moment I switched to a vegan diet until I switched over to my pegan (paleo + vegan hybrid) diet five months ago. But, the Orgain option contains sugar, and even though it is a small amount, I can’t add it to my shakes any longer.
Posting my two month check in yesterday was liberating! I know my skin is nowhere near perfect, but I’m so astounded of the progress it has made due to my dietary changes. Food really does heal. I can’t wait to get my health coaching certification and help others come to this realization…but that’s a story for another day.
I still have a long way to go to heal my face completely. I don’t want to speak for every cystic acne sufferer, but after I booked my appointment with the Functional Medicine Center and started speaking openly about my skin (instead of pretending it wasn’t bothering me 100% of the time), I started noticing the comments from my friends, acquaintances, and everyone else I interact with on a regular basis. Five comments in particular really stand out, so I’ve compiled a lovely list of “What not to say to someone with cystic acne”…
It’s been two months since I began my elimination / detox diet in an attempt to heal my cystic acne from the inside out. To recap, the list of “NO” food groups includes:
- Grains (except 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa or 1/3 cup of cooked rice as of March 4, 2016)
- Starchy vegetables
- Fruits (other than a select handful of low-glycemic fruits deemed acceptable)
- Caffeine (except 1-2 cups of green tea as of March 4, 2016)
- Sweeteners (natural or artificial)
This might seem like a radical approach, but let’s consider the alternatives: accutane, or a blood pressure pill that may or may not work, and I would have to be on it for the rest of my life. I pick trying the functional medicine approach.
So, without further ado, let me take you through a timeline of my skin over the past three years, ending with my progress to date!